Team Ghana's bid to win medals at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games has already begun facing challenges after its 23-member contingent started travelling in batches for the competition which begins tomorrow in Nassau, Bahamas.
Only four members of the team, (judoka Emmanuel Kemavor, 400 metre runner Rafiatu Nuhu, tennis player Emmanuel Plange and an official, Mr Theo Edzie) managed to fly out to the competition last Saturday night after a heated confrontation between the President of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), Ben Nunoo Mensah and the Chief Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS), Frank Quist.
The GOC has blamed the problem on the MOYS , particularly, Mr Quist for the mess. However, the MOYS while regretting the unfortunate incident, insists it was only doing its due diligence job.
The last minute travel arrangements scuppered plans laid out by Ghana’s Chef de Mission, Mawuko Afadzinu (already in the Bahamas) who told the Graphic Sports last Wednesday that the entire team would leave the country last Saturday night, on tickets purchased by the MOYS.
However, that did not happen and according to Mr Nunoo Mensah, their arrangements were botched because Mr Quist delayed in acquiring the tickets from the travel and tour agency, despite receiving the list of persons to travel four weeks ago.
He said the Chief Director of the MOYS flared up after an expression of concern over the delay in the acquisition of tickets for the trip.
“We sent the letter four weeks ago and Mr Quist waited for two weeks without doing anything, and later wrote to the National Sports Authority (NSA) to complain that the list did not have designations, but he could have called the GOC General Secretary for that information when he received the letter and he was not sure of the details,” Mr Nunoo Mensah complained to the Graphic Sports in an interview yesterday.
“The Minister has assured us that his outfit will do whatever it can to get the athletes to Bahamas, even if it means buying first class tickets. The budget was such that we provided $50,000 for all other aspects of our participation and the Ministry is supposed to provide $80,000 in terms of tickets.”
“We regret the unfortunate incident with the travelling arrangements, but the ministry cannot be blamed because the GOC delayed in bringing the list with the designations. That is how it’s supposed to be and when they finally did that, we could not write to the travel and tour agency so we informed them by phone,” the PRO of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Elvis Adjei-Baah said when contacted by the Graphic Sports.
Another batch of nine members of the contingent — boxers Alfred Kotey, tennis player Marian Ibrahim, swimmer Abeiku Jackson, beach volley players Kelvin Carboo and Eric Tsatsu, coaches Vincent Akai Nattey and Joyce Boatey-Asyei as well as team doctor Martin Engmann — were scheduled to leave Accra last night to join their teammates in the Bahamas.